The Well-Digger's Daughter DVD
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Directed by Daniel Auteuil
Produced in 2011
Main Language - French with English subtitles
Daniel Auteuil, whose career really took off after his performance as the scheming Ugolin in Jean de Florette, returns to the work of Marcel Pagnol for his directorial debut. Auteuil plays Pascal Amoretti, the patriarch of the title, whose eldest daughter Patricia has returned to the country from her education in Paris to look after her motherless siblings. But then a liaison with the rakish son of a local businessman leaves her pregnant.
This might all sound a little like Thomas Hardy-en-Provence. But Pagnol’s tale (which he filmed himself in 1940) eschews the tragic mode and heads for sunnier territory. The film looks gorgeous, the performances are all excellent (not least that of Kad Merad as Felipe, Felicia’s noble but hapless suitor), and the resolutely old-fashioned nature of its themes (class, tradition, hypocrisy) make the story timeless rather than dated.
On the strength of this, Auteuil’s next work as director – a remake of Pagnol’s classic Marius-Fanny-César trilogy – is well worth waiting for.
Nick Riddle on 20th February 2012
Author of 62 reviews
The beautifully-filmed, sun-soaked directorial debut of French actor Daniel Auteuil, who also assumes one of the film's main roles, The Well-Digger's Daughter is an adaptation of a novel by Marcel Pagnol (writer of Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources) that was first adapted for cinema by Pagnol himself in 1940.
The film is set at the beginning of the First World War in rural Provence, where 18-year-old Patricia (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), daughter of well-digger Pascal Amoretti (Auteuil), falls pregnant to Jacques, the son of wealthy local businessman Mr Mazel. But then Jacques is called up as a fighter pilot and goes off to war not knowing that Patricia is pregnant. Accused of blackmail by the boy’s rich parents, Patricia and her father welcome her child - but their joy is son the envy of the Mazels who seek to share it when Jacques goes missing in action.
Publisher: 20th Century Fox
Length: 109 mins
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1 widescreen
Cat No: P927701000
Format: DVD Colour